A moving and touching true story that plays like a companion piece to Mark
Wahlberg’s film “Patriots Day”. Stronger tells the story from the view
point of a victim as opposed to the aforementioned Patriots Day which told
the story of how the authorities captured the Boston marathon bombers’.
Stronger feels like the more realistic of the two films. Gone are the
gung-ho heroics and instead what we have is a story of how one man’s life
changes from being fit and healthy to relying on family and friends for
even the most basic of needs.
Jeff Buaman(superbly played by Jake Gyllenhaal) in 2013 was at the
finishing line of the Boston Marathon waiting to cheer on his on-off
girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany) when the bombs went off resulting
in Buaman having to have both his legs amputated at the knee.
It would have been all too easy for director David Gordon Green to show
Buamans life through rose coloured glasses but instead he chooses to show
Buaman as something of a reluctant hero. Chosen by the city as a symbol of
the “Boston Strong” slogan, he’s wheeled out at various events and is
somewhat exploited by the way that he’s used by city officials. One scene
where he’s pushed out in front of tens of thousands of screaming ice hockey
fans so that he can wave an American flag is hard to watch.
In a strange choice of casting, British actress Miranda Richardson, with a
put on thick Boston accent, plays the part of Buamans over protective
mother. However that’s not to take anything away from Stronger as after all
it’s all about Gyllenhaal and his performance is fantastic.